Bishop Diego football coaches needed a happy dance after championship victory

Santa Barbara High girls basketball coach Andrew Butcher is joined by players, from left, Alondra Jimenez, Athena Saragoza and Cassandra Gordon.

When Bishop Diego defeated Golden Valley for its first CIF-SS football championship last Friday at Canyon High, the coaches found themselves in an awkward position. They didn’t know how to react.

“I didn’t know what to do after the game,” assistant Steve Robles said at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. “Our whole staff have been coaching with Tom Crawford for 17-plus years and we don’t know what to do.  We didn’t know whether to cry, throw our hands up or run around.

“I had my oldest daughter there and she’s been with me since I’ve been coaching and she didn’t know what to do either.”

The Cardinals won the game 37-6.

Bishop Diego was given a standing ovation before Robles got up to speak about the team.

He said the feeling of winning the title was amazing.

“It was just a great, great experience,” he said. “I just hope every coach in here can experience that. It’s something we as program have been working for for so long. To finally get there, words cannot even express how happy we were.”

Robles said coach Crawford wanted to express his thanks to the Round Table and the area high school and college coaches for their support. He also thanked Bishop Diego principal Karen Regan, the administration and teachers at the school, athletic directors Mike Cano and Dan Peeters, team managers Lexi Gonzalez, Jackie Kislow and Andrea Cordova, trainer Brian Alvarez and the parents of the players.

Robles introduced senior players Mitch Heller and Dylan Streett. Heller, a tight end and nose guard, has been part of the football program since he was 5, when he was a ball boy. His father, Ron, a former NFL tight end, is an assistant coach.

“He has great hands and is very important on our offensive line,” Robles said of Mitch Heller.

Streett is a senior receiver and defensive back. He intercepted two passes and blocked a Golden Valley field-goal attempt and extra point in the championship game.

He was named the Athlete of the Week.

Robles credited Streett and the other seniors in the secondary with mentoring a freshman member of the group. “They’ve brought that young man along,” he said.

He also pointed out that Streett is a great basketball player.

Bishop Diego’s season is still going as it was selected to play in the CIF State Playoffs. The Cardinals will host Quartz Hill in the Division 3AA regional final on Friday at La Playa Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The winner plays for the state title against the Northern Regional champion on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Quartz Hill defeated Dos Pueblos, 26-21, in a thrilling Division 10 final that was decided on the last play of the game last Saturday.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun,” Robles said. “It’s uncharted territory for us; we’re just enjoying it.”

GIRLS WATER POLO

Santa Barbara High

The Dons went 1-1 in their first week of action, beating Royal and losing to Los Alamitos, a top-10 team in CIF Division 1.

“We went toe-to-toe,” Walsh said of the Los Alamitos game. “It was 3-3 going into the fourth period and we lost 9-3. For three quarters we were able to compete with them, so it was a very good sign for us that we were able to play with that team. We were also missing three girls who play a lot for us. Come later in the year, that’s a team we’ll be able to contend with.”

Seniors Grace Raisin and Georgia Ransone, both four-year starters, are standouts for the Dons.

Walsh said Raisin is “one of the best centers in the country. If you don’t bring (defensive) help, she can pretty much score on anyone.”

She signed a letter of intent with Cal.

Ransone, a UC San Diego signee, is an outstanding shooter and plays center defense.

“She guards the other teams’ biggest, strongest players and has to battle them, while also going down pool and try to score a lot of goals for us, which is a tough challenge,” said Walsh.

He called both players great leaders who also have been great coaches in the water for the younger players.

The Dons play at San Marcos on Tuesday in the Channel League opener.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Santa Barbara High

Coach Andrew Butcher introduced standout seniors Cassandra Gordon and Alondra Jimenez and talented freshman Athena Saragoza, who was honored as the Athlete of the Week for her performance at the Bryan Ayers Classic in Lompoc.

The Dons went 3-0 in the tournament, and Saragoza scored in double figures in each game.

“I usually cut players with seven syllables in their names just on principal, but she’s really good,” cracked Butcher of his freshman. “This girl puts her head down and runs. She plays every possession like it’s the championship point. I don’t see that very often, but she just goes and goes. When she’s exhausted, I’ll give her a break, but she just goes after it. It’s really exciting to see someone who works so hard do so well.”

Jimenez has suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees during her career, Butcher noted. “The one year she played, she shot 50 precent from the floor. She’s being recruited by colleges.

“She shot 60 percent for the tournament. She’s really our leader and a terrific basketball player. She does a great job.”

Gordon signed with Georgetown last month.

“She’s an outstanding athlete,” Butcher said. “She has a tremendous upside. She does a lot of great things… sometimes she does things great really quickly. She’s a terrific player and a terrific talent.”

The Dons play Santa Ynez in the first round of the Gold Coast Classic on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at San Marcos High.

San Marcos

The Royals are 5-1 and four-year coach Chris Hantgin said, “I’m having the most fun I’ve had with this group of young ladies.”

Two multi-sport junior athletes have helped San Marcos get off to a good start.

Megan Cunnison, who also plays softball, is one of the leading rebounders and is solid inside defender, Hantgin said. “She’s a tremendous all-around player for us.”

Kate Allison came out from cross country and will run track in the spring.

The Royals open the Gold Coast Classic on Wednesday against Righetti at 7:30 p.m.

Bishop Diego

Coach Jeff Burich, a Bishop alum, started by saying how proud he was of the football team for winning its first CIF title.

“That was a program championship,” he said

As for his basketball team, it’s 2-2 after last week’s Bird Cage Classic. “We beat the two teams that we were supposed to beat and lost to two teams that were better than us,” he said.

He introduced players Kara Murray and Natalie Whiting.

Murray is also a cheerleader.

“Whenever we have practice and we run our drills, we know when our cheerleader is on the court,” Burich said. “We’re more vocal, there’s a lot more talking. It’s great having that enthusiasm out on the court. She’s a tremendous defensive player and has done a really good job working on her 15-foot jump shot.”

Whiting is the team’s leading scorer, averaging close to 20 points a game.

“She’s done a good job practicing her free throws and getting to the free-throw line,” Burich said. “She’s a great player to have on the court and his a good person for the younger kids to follow and emulate.

“We have five freshman out of 12 players, so a lot of kids are learning high school basketball. So, I’m glad to have these two seniors.”

COLLEGE SWIMMING

UCSB

Assistant coach Mark Stori said the eight swimmers the Gauchos sent to the Husky Invitational over the weekend in Seattle achieved at least one lifetime best and set six school records.

Logan Hotchkiss set records in the 200, 500 and mile freestyle swims, Billy Mullis in the 100 and 200 backstroke and Yoessef Tabazi in the 100 butterfly.

“There are two times we think will qualify for the NCAAs; Hotchkiss is seeded 10th in the 500 free and Mullis is 16th,” said Stori.

The coach introduced senior swimmers Dasha Depew and Chris Nolan. Depew, a San Marcos alum, is a leader in the pool and in academics, Stori said. Nolan is a two-time MPSF champion and multiple-time Olympic Trials qualifier.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

UCSB Women

Assistant coach Alex Delanian reported that the young Gauchos are learning how to close out a game.

“We’re a really good 30-minute team and we’ve been in every game going into that fourth quarter except for the recent one,” he said.

The recent one was at 74-44 loss at No. 7-ranked UCLA.

“They’re national championship contenders and easily an elite-eight, final-four team — they’re phenomenal, a great team,” Delanian said.

While the Gauchos got blown out, Delanian was impressed with the attitude of freshman point guard Danae Miller. She went up against UCLA All-American Jordin Canada.

“Danae is a freshman playing in her eighth college game against one of the best point guards in the country. I sat down with her asked her, ‘Besides her skill, what makes Jordin a great point guard?’” he said of his conversation with Miller. “Without hesitation, she said: ‘She’s poised. She has that game under control. She has command of what’s going on out there.’

“And, without a second hesitation, she said: ‘And I’m going to get there,’

“That was a really nice thing to hear from our freshman point guard,” he added.

Despite a 1-7 record, Delanian is positive about the team’s improvement.

“With a young team, there’s lots of ups and downs, but the needle is moving forward,” he said.

Westmont Men

Coach John Moore described the play of teams captains Jerry Karczewski and Sean Harman in the last two games as falling off a bike and then getting back on it.

He said they played poorly in a 77-74 loss at home against Antelope Valley but got back on the bike and led the way in a 70-69 win at Pomona Pitzer the next night. In that game, they combined for 33 of the team’s 45 points in the first half and ended up with 46 of the Warriors’ 70; Harman scored 26 points and Karczewski 20.

He called Karczewski “one of he best point guards in the nation.” A honorable mention NAIA All-American last year, Moore expects him to be on the first, second or third team this time around.

 

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